Simon Heffer in today’s Torygraph…
We need to stop this, and to stop flagellating ourselves about drinking, because if not our attitude to the place of alcohol in our society is going to become downright silly.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am well aware of the following things. First, greater prosperity has left young people in particular with more disposable income than ever before, and for reasons of fashion they often choose to spend it on drink.
Second, being young, they behave appallingly having had some drink (though we have all seen older people do that, too).
Third, many from deprived backgrounds choose to spend an unhealthy proportion of their welfare benefits on drink, which causes them to beat their wives and children and to be incapable of productive work: disgusting activities, but ones that, short of totalitarian intervention by the social services, are unlikely to be stopped by sticking 7p on a pint of beer.
Fourth, we have many more casualties of drink in this country now than 25 years ago, a period in which consumption of alcohol has doubled. I do not find any of these things acceptable or even tolerable, and I am sure they are damaging society and incurring a huge cost to the taxpayer.
However, we need to put them in some perspective.
And the old cunt’s idea of perspective…
Something, obviously, must be done: but it needs to be targeted.
Licensees who sell drink to under-18s should be prosecuted, and they and their premises banned from selling alcohol indefinitely. If this hits some big supermarkets as well, so be it.
Pass one new law, which is to make punishable by a prison term the resale or trafficking of alcohol to minors.
Enforce the public order laws rigorously, with heavy fines and community orders – such as cleaning up the mess in town centres on a Friday and Saturday night – for those drunk in public.
Limit the opening hours of public houses. Refuse licences for off-sales to businesses in areas of high crime and disorder.
Make it easier for employers to sack staff who are ill or incapable through drink.
Above all, consider the issue of food stamps rather than cash to welfare claimants to prevent them from spending disproportionate amounts of taxpayers’ money on drink.
That’ll be a no to ‘compassionate conservatism’ then, Simon?